"Sad Professor" as written by and Mike Mills Peter Buck....
If we're talking about love
Then I have to tell you
Dear readers, I'm not sure where I'm headed
I've gotten lost before
I've woke up stone drunk
Face down in the floor

Late afternoon, the house is hot
I started, I jumped up
Everyone hates a bore
Everybody hates a drunk

This may be a lit invention
Professors muddled in their intent
To try to rope in followers
To float their malcontent
As for this reader, I'm already spent

Late afternoon, the house is hot
I started, I jumped up
Everyone hates a sad professor
I hate where I wound up

Dear readers, my apologies
I'm drifting in and out of sleep
Long silence presents the tragedies
Of love not the age get afraid
The surface hazy with attendant thoughts
A lazy eye metaphor on the rock

Late afternoon, the house is hot
I started, I jumped up
Everyone hates a bore
Everybody hates a drunk
Everyone hates a sad professor
I hate where I wound up
I hate where I wound up




Lyrics submitted by xpankfrisst

"Sad Professor" as written by Mike Mills Peter Buck

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Universal Music Publishing Group

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Sad Professor song meanings
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8 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentThis and Falls to Climb are my favorite tracks on this album.

    Up is highly overlooked...
    cgnjnyon February 26, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe thing I've noticed with Stipe's lyrics is that he likes to write stories with fictional characters to represent a certain emotion, in this case hopelessness, instead of just writing a biographical song about himself. I think that this is a lot more interesting than that, because the other has been done to death. I think that the last 3 albums have seen this a lot more than the older ones, but I'd say that he did it the most on Up.
    --------------------------------------------------
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    Jakeberton July 15, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI'm struck by some similarities to Nabokov's "Lolita," narrated by the character Humbert Humbert (who is a professor). It has a similar tone--knowing that what he's doing is self-destructuve, but unable and unwilling to not do it. Also, in the book, Humbert Humbert addresses the reader as "Dear readers"
    ecd28on January 11, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI very much think the line "A lazy eye metaphor on the rocks" is a reference to Thom Yorke, Michael Stipe's friend. This means the whole song could be about Thom Yorke (who is known to over-intellectualize and drink a bit, which fits with other aspects of the character sketch). My thinking: Around the time that "Up" was written, the press was beginning to really obsess about Radiohead. Even if it was "good" press, there were plenty of lazy articles psychoanalyzing Yorke, filled with lazy metaphors. I recall one article which made a point of how Yorke's one paralyzed eyelid (his "lazy eye") was a metaphor for how he always had one part of him looking out at the world, and another part looking inward (his bad eye).
    Myrmidonon June 07, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI'm fairly certain its about a proffessor who gets wasted and stuff because hes depressed
    heythere81201on March 17, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWhat a great song - no more comments?

    I agree, it seems to be about a uni professor who's life has not panned out the way he wanted. He thinks/knows people think he's boring, and he drinks himself into a stupor all the time.

    His only dialogue is with his readers - maybe in academic journals? Stipe has a real scientist and lawyer fascination, this is one of many recent songs with references to people who have done university degrees in it.
    caitsith01on October 17, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThere's a certain stereotype of the academic who devotes his whole life to his work at the expense of his social life. Stipe seems to be playing on that. The narrator of the song finally realises the mistake he's made at middle-age.

    The guitar sounds awesome. Like a steel acoustic that's been distorted.
    GotMeNowon January 14, 2007   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningI took it to mean the Latin meaning of professor "one who professes". In that light - a sad professor is one that professes they are sad in their words and in their actions - such as being a bore and drinking until your face hits the floor. In so much as I could relate to being a sad professor myself, going through a rather grim time in my life - loosing the first man I ever loved, my father, and the latest man I loved, my boyfriend of ten years. I hate where I wound up...
    carazzieon August 21, 2011   Link

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